Menopause Linked to Increased Heart Risk in Women: Study 

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Menopause Linked to Increased Heart Risk in Women: Study
Menopause Linked to Increased Heart Risk in Women: Study

United States: Following menopause, the likelihood of developing cardiovascular complications, like myocardial infarction or cerebrovascular accident, significantly escalates among women, as indicated by a recent investigation.

“This research marks one of the initial studies demonstrating a substantial rise in risk post-menopause, nearly equaling that of males for cardiac incidents,” shared Ella Ishaaya, MD, a specialist in internal medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, who spearheaded the study, with Health, according to health.com.

Experts, during an American College of Cardiology conference on April 7, underscored the imperative to identify and comprehend early indications of cardiovascular issues in this demographic. Although conventionally perceived as a male-centric health concern, heart disease frequently remains inadequately addressed in women, notwithstanding being the foremost cause of mortality for both sexes in the United States.

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Below, specialists delineate the correlation between cardiac well-being and menopause, strategies for women to safeguard their hearts, and indications of heart ailments.

Impact of Menopause on Cardiac Health

It is already established that postmenopausal females exhibit heightened susceptibility to heart maladies owing to diminished levels of estrogen, a hormone crucial for regulating “bad” cholesterol and executing other functions protective of the heart.

Ishaaya articulated that her team aimed to delve further into the cardiac health risks confronting this specific cohort.

For their scrutiny, investigators scrutinized data from 579 postmenopausal women prescribed statins for cholesterol management. These women had undergone two screenings for coronary artery calcium (CAC) with an interval of at least one year. These scans discern a person’s vulnerability to heart attacks by gauging the accumulation of plaque—comprising cholesterol and other substances—in the heart’s arteries (wherein higher scores denote greater risk).

To juxtapose the risk of heart complications in postmenopausal women with that of men, researchers also assessed men sharing similar characteristics concerning race, age, statin usage, blood pressure, and diabetes status as the women scrutinized, as highlighted by health.com.

Subsequently, participants were categorized into three groups based on their initial CAC scan outcomes: scores ranging from one to 99, 100 to 399, and 400 or above.

The team observed that the second CAC scores of numerous participants surpassed the initial scores. The average elevation in scores between the initial and subsequent CAC scan was eight points among women with a baseline score of one to 99. Women in the second group witnessed an approximate surge of 31 points in their average scores.

These increments were roughly twice as high as those observed in their male counterparts.

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Ishaaya noted a limitation of the study, wherein researchers exclusively analyzed data from women who were administered statins. She added that despite the medication, the escalation in CAC levels among many participants implies a potentially heightened risk among postmenopausal women not receiving statin treatment.

Megan Kamath, MD, a cardiologist at UCLA Health, emphasized the significance of commencing heart protection measures before reaching menopause.

“One of the most effective measures that postmenopausal women can adopt is a preemptive approach during their premenopausal phase, which can extend into their postmenopausal years,” she articulated to Health. “Women ought to assume responsibility for their cardiovascular health, commencing with dietary adjustments, physical activity, and lifestyle modifications conducive to heart health.”

These lifestyle modifications encompass ceasing tobacco consumption and managing stress through practices like yoga and meditation, elucidated Petra Zubin Maslov, MD, PhD, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Morningside, to Health.

Regular consultations with a healthcare professional concerning cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and overall cardiac risk are imperative.

In the event of detecting symptoms indicative of heart diseases, such as chest heaviness, heartburn, persistent fatigue, or discomfort in the neck, jaw, or back, Zubin Maslov accentuated the importance of consulting a medical expert and refraining from attributing the symptoms to the “natural” aging process.

Given the overlapping symptoms with other medical conditions, she advised seeking the counsel of a cardiologist if health issues persist despite treatment.

“Heart disease is preventable and manageable,” affirmed Reynolds. “Initiating self-care practices is always beneficial.”

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